Cryptography Essay

602 words - 2 pages

Essential Question: How do people communicate through codes?Emerging from the need for secret communications, "cryptology" is the science of interacting through codes and consists of two aspects; "cryptography", which is putting messages into covert form and accrediting them and "cryptanalysis" which is solving secret messages. (Encyclopedia Americana 275) In all ages, "cryptography" has been used in "diplomacy", "espionage' and "commerce", enabling people to communicate through a frequency that is not secure in a way that their adversary can not comprehend. (Stinson 1) "Cryptography" has been used throughout the course of human events. The science was firstly practiced in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. However, "cryptology" thrived in World War II when covert communications were crucial and governments employed hundreds of experts to "encipher" and "decipher" secret messages. (Russell, 57). During World War II, cryptography was mainly used in the Japanese - American conflict and by the Nazis. The Japanese army had developed a very powerful secret code named "Purple"that was broken in 1939 after the invention of the Purple Cipher Machine by William Friedman who was a true pioneer in cryptology. (Russell, 83) After the failure to anticipate the catastrophic strike at Pearl Harbor, US cryptanalysts decrypted some of the Japanese codes but the real breakthrough came with the understanding that both Japanese languages were used in secret codes and the decryption of the "Maru Code" that was used by Japanese merchant ships that supplied the army.(Russell 59-67)At the same time, German forces made use of "Enigma"; an extremely powerful cipher machine that was developed by the Dutch to communicate banking secrets. British "codebreakers" were able to decrypt a vast number of messages that had been enciphered using the Enigma, contributing critically to the success of the Allies (CIA). Codes list words or numbers different than their real meaning whereas ciphers, use methods of modifying plaintext into cipher text. (Encyclopedia Americana, 275) Ciphers are separated in "monoalphabetic ciphers" and "polyalphabetic ciphers"according to their complexity....

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